God’s Rod of Correction

Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 3:11, 12

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): To be suffered to go on in sin without a rebuke is a sad sign of alienation from God; such are bastards, not sons, Hebrews 12:8.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Say not therefore, If we belong to Him, why are we thus afflicted? The correction results from the relation: what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): They are the chastisements of a father, in which He deals with them as with children; and uses them for the good discipline and instruction of them, as the word here signifies; and therefore not to be “despised,” or loathed and abhorred, as disagreeable food; or as if they were unnecessary and unprofitable, or unworthy of notice and regard; or as little, slight, and trifling things, without considering from whence they come and for what they are sent.

MATTHEW HENRY: The best of God’s children need chastisement. They have their faults and follies, which need to be corrected. Though God may let others alone in their sins, He will correct sin in his own children; they are of His family, and shall not escape His rebukes when they want them—No wise and good father will wink at faults in his own children as he would in others.

JOHN GILL: The same thing is meant by “correction” as chastening.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is a divine correction; it is the chastening of the Lord, which, as it is a reason why we should submit to it—for it is folly to contend with a God of incontestable sovereignty and irresistible power—so it is a reason why we should be satisfied in it; for we may be sure that a God of unspotted purity does us no wrong and that a God of infinite goodness means us no hurt.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): God deals with us as we do with our children: He first speaks; then gives a gentle stroke; at last, a blow.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Whatever the providence may be that turns your joy into grief, it is a chastening from the Lord. Taking, in the first place, this more general view of chastening or rebuke, we observe that the command regarding it is twofold: 1. Do not despise it; 2. Do not faint under it. There are two opposite extremes of error in this thing, as in most others; and these two commands are set like hedges, one on the right hand, and another on the left, to keep the traveller from wandering out of the way. The Lord sees that some, when afflicted, err on this side, and some on that; the stroke affects those too little, and these too much.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Of two evils, choose neither.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Despise not.”—Either by making light of it, or not being duly affected with it; or by accounting it an unnecessary thing.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is from God, and therefore must not be despised; for a slight put upon the messenger is an affront to Him that sends him.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): It is of no use to rebel; if thou do, thou kickest against the pricks, and every act of rebellion against him is a wound to thine own soul. God will either end thee or mend thee.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Correction despised brings sharper correction.

WILLIAM JAY: A natural man is only concerned to escape from trouble, but the Christian is anxious to have it sanctified and improved. He is commanded to hear the rod. While God chastens He teaches. I must therefore be in a learning frame of mind. I must say unto God, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”—“I will hear what, by this event, God the Lord will speak.”

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699):Neither be weary of his correction.” This is the other extreme, despair and despondency of spirit.

JOHN GILL: As if no sorrow was like theirs, and to be quite dejected and overwhelmed with it.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Do not be dissolved, as it were—taken down and taken to pieces by the stroke. Do not sink into despondency and despair. Be impressed by the stroke of the Lord’s hand, but not crushed under it.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Neither esteem it tedious and intolerable.

MATTHEW HENRY: We must not be weary of an affliction, be it ever so heavy and long; not faint under it—so the apostle renders it, Hebrews 12:5—not be dispirited, dispossessed of our own souls, or driven to despair, or to use any indirect means for our relief and the redress of our grievances. We must not think that the affliction either presses harder or continues longer than is meet, not conclude that deliverance will never come because it does not come so soon as we expect it.

WILLIAM JAY: Patience is injured by feeling too little as well as by feeling too much; by despising the chastening of the Lord as well as by fainting when we are rebuked of him.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): To lengthen my patience is the best way to shorten my troubles.

R. C. CHAPMAN: Impatience under God’s corrections only shows our need of the discipline He is pleased to visit us with.

JOHN WYCLIFFE (1330-1384): What is patience?—a glad and willing suffering of troubles. He that is patient murmurs not at adversity, but rather, at all times, praises God.

JOHN TRAPP: Count it not a light matter, a common occurrence, such as must be borne by head and shoulders, and when things are at worst, they will mend again. This is not patience but pertinacy; strength, but stupidity—“the strength of stone, and flesh of brass.”

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Of all things in the world to be avoided, a stony heart, or a stupidity under God’s afflicting hand, is most to be deprecated.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): The sound discipline of heavenly guidance is our Father’s best blessing. His most fearful curse, is to be given up to our own ways, “to walk in our own counsels,” Psalm 81:12.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Woe, woe to that soul that God will not spend a rod upon. This is the saddest stroke of all, when God refuses to strike at all…God is most angry when He shows no anger. God keep me from this mercy; this kind of mercy is worse than all other kinds of misery.

WILLIAM JAY: “Bastards may escape the rod,

Sunk in earthly, vain delight;

But a true-born child of God

Must not, would not, if he might.”

JOHN NEWTON: Let us therefore pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient.


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